Today’s news:

Affordable apartment building opens in Rego Park

A new 50-unit apartment building in Rego Park will provide affordable housing for residents in a borough where the cost of living continues to rise, city officials and community members said at Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting for the complex.

“Queens is thought of as being an affordable borough, but it gets to be expensive,” said Richard Froehlich, executive vice president of capital markets and general counsel at the city Housing Development Corp. “A beautiful green building like this is important and appreciated.

The HDC, the Fresh Meadows-based Bluestone Organization and Wells Fargo partnered to complete the environmentally friendly complex, named The Andrew after Andrew S. Hodes, an attorney at Bluestone for more than 20 years who died in December 2008 after a five-year battle with cancer.

The building, at 65-54 Austin St., has expansive views of the Manhattan skyline and contains five studio, 30 one-bedroom and 15 two-bedroom apartments for households earning up to 80 percent of the area median income, or $61,440 for a family of four. About 10 units are set aside for tenants earning no more than 80 percent of the area median income.

Residents will pay about $1,275 for a studio, $1,525 for a one-bedroom and $1,995 for a two-bedroom.

“This is an exciting time,” Community Board 6 Chairman Joseph Hennessy said. “Affordable housing is so much desired and so much needed here in Queens.”

The complex is enrolled in the state Energy Research and Development Authority’s multi-family building performance program, which requires developments to meet high standards of energy efficiency. For example, each unit has an individual, high-efficiency exhaust fan and insulated glass windows help to lower cooling costs in the summer by reducing the amount of air conditioning needed.

“This building is about 25 times more efficient than code,” said Luke Falk of NYSERDA.

Eric Bluestone, principal of The Bluestone Organization, said his development company has long worked to bring affordable housing to Queens. His grandfather, Jacob Bluestone, started the company in Flushing and sought to build “workforce housing for the people of Queens.” The Andrew is the 13th building the group has developed in Queens.

“Affordable housing has been a mission for us,” Bluestone said. “The rents in this part of Queens have outpaced most people’s ability to pay for them.”

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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